busy bodies

Infertility Busy Bodies - You Know, Family, Friends

So last week was sort of an introduction to infertility with a few terms and definitions sprinkled in among my usual smart ass remarks. http://laughingisconceivable.com/infertility-virgins/ This week, let's discuss "Infertility Busy Bodies, You know, Family & Friends etc" in other words-- those who deserve smart ass remarks.

Besides dealing with the medical side of infertility- the drugs, the tests, the doctors- and the emotional side of infertility- the stress, the sadness, the fear- there's also the social side of infertility: What to tell. How much to tell. Whom to tell. When to tell.  First there's the sense of obligation. "I have to tell him. He's my husband."  "I have to tell her. She's my sister." "I have to tell her. She's my mother." "I have to tell her. She's my best friend." Some of us even extend our sense of obligation from the reasonable to the ludicrous: "I have to tell her. She's my coworker. I work with her every day." "I have to tell her. She's my neighbor. I see her at the mailbox every day." "I have to tell him. I've been going on his line at the supermarket every week for five years."

As far as I'm concerned, there are three categories of people in our lives when it comes to who to tell and how much to tell:

The People Who Have the Right to Know Everything: That would be the direct contributor to the other 50% of your future child's DNA. Whatever you call him: Partner, spouse, husband, lover boy, neighbor with the tight jeans. End of list.

He should know every step of the procedures and be in on the decision making because even if he's not lying on that table getting probed every few days, "oh Honey, I could never have done this without you" is literally true. You should be there as emotional support for each other and so you both need to know what's going on all the time. So, "The People Who Have the Right to Know Everything"? Make that "The Person" Who Has the Right to Know Everything. He's it. 

       

The People Who Have the Right to Know Some Things:

a) Your boss. Your work schedule will be constantly affected by fertility treatments. He or she will know something is up and have to know there's a good reason for you needing time off or coming in late or leaving early frequently. Still, there's no need to get into all of it: "I'm going for a procedure that requires a lot of doctor's appointments and may take a few months or so. But I'm fine. Nothing to worry about." (Meaning: No need to train my replacement.) As opposed to: "You know, I've been married for a while now and we've been trying to have a baby for a while, and you might remember I was in my sister's wedding party last year... Remember I took off that long week end last May because she had a destination wedding to the Bahamas? So anyway, she's already pregnant. And, even though  my periods are regular..."

b) Your Human Resources person- or whoever handles your specific insurance questions. Tell your personal business only to the actual person with the answers. My human resources person was just the nasty, vindictive woman whose sole job was to give me the runaround when I was trying to get reimbursed for mileage for using my car. If you've got one of those, just do what I did: Politely and professionally get the number for the benefits person from her, yell "& send my mileage already you useless...!" and slam down the phone.

The third category is:

People Who Have the Right to Know Nothing.

Everybody else. Your mother, your sister, your BFF since elementary school, your Facebook friends, your LinkedIn connections, your cousin who's more like your sister than your sister, your neighbor who you see at the mailbox every day, your coworkers who you work next to every day, the cashier at the supermarket who you've seen every week for five years. Screw them all. If they're not a direct contributor to this child's DNA or directly involved in your insurance or keeping your job--- they have no rights. There are a lot of people in our lives who you're close to, so close in fact, that you just know you're not going to get the response or reaction you need from them right now. Or it's all so draining and you just don't want to get into all the details with them right now. Or you're afraid if you start telling them something, they're going to keep annoying you for updates, or it's someone who's got a big heart and an even bigger mouth and the whole family/ office/ neighborhood /supermarket / school/ post office / gym / yoga studio will know your business within the hour.

So, if you feel guilty because you're not ready to share with those people closest to you--- get over it. Because you know if your gut (that's the spot right above where the doctor keeps poking) keeps telling you not to talk to this person about it and then you finally give in and talk to this person about it, the next feeling out of your gut will be: "I knew I shouldn't have talked to this person about it!"  

I'm not saying this will be easy-- especially with people you have historically shared everything with or people you see or talk to all the time. Acceptable answers to their proddings should be short: "I'm really not ready to discuss it now." "I'm fine. It's nothing to worry about." "It's kind of personal."

And to this question: "When are you going to have children?" I like this response: "We're working on it." People like things that sound dirty.

Even if you have to tell them more than once, a reasonable person will give you your space. An unreasonable person will ask you every day trying to wear you down. The appropriate response to them is:

"Mind your own fucking business." Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please check out my little eBook of my own personal bout with infertility & treatments: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility sufferers, their friends, family & medical personal. 66 reviews on Amazon. amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ Also on Nook & Kobo

Infertility Transparency: Tell them Everything

Infertility Transparency. Tell them everything. No secrets. CEOs and politicians talk about transparency all the time. Let the people know everything that's going on. I think people struggling to get pregnant should have the same policy: Infertility Transparency. The people in our lives-family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, coworkers think they want to know everything about our infertility. I think we should tell them. We should tell them all. We should tell them everything. And I mean everything.  If that doesn't get rid of them... women gossiping -funny old fashioned at work

So next time you visit, shall we say, your mother-in-law, before she starts in on the "When are you going to make me a grandma? I'm not getting any younger you know" (Yeah, no kidding)... Perhaps cut her off and start this conversation:

"And then they gave your son a specimen cup like they give you for a urine sample. But they don't need urine of course. They need his sperm and there's really only one way to get it. So he goes into this private room with his cup and a magazine. He actually brought his own old magazine--wow I just realized-- he said it was the one he had under his mattress when he lived in that room right there... What a coincidence. I'm right here telling you this story and we're standing not eight feet away from where he kept that magazine for like six years. Anyway... he takes the cup into a private room and "reads" his magazine... Did you ever know that he was ambidextrous? I mean he writes lefty and eats lefty but... anyway... It turns out you were wrong about what you told him when he was fourteen--it can't possibly make him blind. We've been through this four times already and he's still only mildly myopic like he's always been."

Well, that takes care of your mother-in-law. Doubt if she'll ever bring up the subject again. I'm sure she left the room appalled when you spilled the specimen cup details. You probably told the entire magazine monologue to the kitchen cabinets.

So, now that you've begun to experience how freeing it is to be so open about your infertility escapades, who else around the house tonight might benefit from your new-found infertility transparency policy?

Your father-in-law naturally. Na, he doesn't want to know. Not from you anyway... Your mother-in-law will tell him later. Maybe she'll give him the Disney version (though I'm not sure what the Disney version of that story would be.) Maybe she'll just say how disrespectful you were to her. Either way, you win: 1) You won't be there to hear it and 2) Neither of them will probably ever ask you when you're going to give them grandchildren ever again.

So who's next? How about some neighbors? They always seem interested in why you're not pregnant yet. Let the infertility transparency opportunity knock and see who answers, shall we?

"Hi Michelle. Remember the other day at the mailbox when you came across the street to ask me if I was pregnant yet? And I just gave you the short answer: 'Nope' and ran into my garage? I don't want you to think l was blowing you off so let me fill you in now. You might want to put down that laundry basket. It looks kind of heavy. Well, that day I went to the doctor to have them check my uterine lining. So I'm wearing nothing but a paper gown with the back open and my mole is pressing right against the examination table... You know about that mole I have on my right cheek don't you? Well the whole time, my legs are flying high in the air in a "v" shape. It always reminds me of when I was a cheerleader. What's with the look? I'm talking about doing splits during the games. What did you think I meant? Anyway... There's only one way to check my uterine lining. You guessed it. They take a flashlight thing with I think a condom on it and put it up there and have a little laser light show in my uterus. They could at least play Pink Floyd or ABBA, right? And I seem to always get the exam room with the air conditioning vent directly above the table. I mean of course I've had my hair blown dry before but not... Wow, did that laundry basket just land on your foot? I knew you should have put it down. Should I maybe come in? Or do you want to hear the rest on the porch too? It's actually great out here. I won't have to repeat myself. Now all the neighbors know what you know."

(Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel at least a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you liked the lunacy above, please think about subscribing to this blog or taking a gander at my eBook (& reviews)--downloaded by thousands of infertility patients, partners, & medical professionals-- by clicking the book cover icon above or visiting the home page. http://laughingisconceivable.com)

Microblog_Mondays

Infertility, Vacations, & Other Stressful Events (Tuesday)

So, presently I'm on the final days of a lovely vacation in Florida. For those buried under an avalanche of snow yet again...so sorry. When you can't get pregnant, every fool and her sister tells you to go on vacation. Apparently our reproductive systems know which climate we're having sex in. But how do we know if our eggs and sperm are snobs? Maybe you'd get pregnant in a five star hotel. But your husband's sperm refuses to be seen at a Motel 6.

It's all very confusing to me. People who fool around on their spouses say it doesn't count if they're away from home. And it doesn't count when you meet someone on Spring Break either. And it doesn't count if you don't know the person's first name, or where they live, or their natural hair color. So how do our reproductive systems know, when we're on vacation with the person we're supposed to be on vacation with, that THIS time is supposed to count?    

Okay, when people tell us to go on vacation to get pregnant, I think they're telling us to go away and relax. If our bodies and minds are relaxed, nature will do what it's supposed to and we'll come back pregnant. Okay, so I believe the mind/body thing and am a strong proponent of taking your mind off the rigors of the shitty journey as much as possible...hence this blog. But, oh, if only it could be that simple.

How fast-acting is this formula for pregnancy anyway? Maybe you could just go on the Expedia website and leave it on the screen while you do your husband on the floor by the computer.

Or maybe you could make love with the boarding pass sandwiched between you (Okay, that thought pretty much nixed my chances of ever applying for a job at the airport. "Sir, if I get this job working at the check-in counter, can I wear gloves? You just never know where those boarding passes have been.")    

Are there statistics on (let me apologize before I even type it) how many pregnancies have been achieved by members of the mile-high club? I'm figuring there have been way more bruises than pregnancies.  And let me confess, I probably haven't ever seriously considered becoming a member of that club, but when I've used one of the airplane toilets, I've often wondered how it's even possible. They're so teeny, where would everything go? There's barely enough room to pee.

So, that's what we'll discuss this week. No not urinating at high altitudes air in a cramped moving object. (Though it could be a fascinating topic and I could probably go on about it for an entire week...but, really, who would want me to?)  Instead, we'll talk about what really goes on during a vacation that might be helpful during this infertility time of our lives and if it's really possible to check our emotional infertility-related baggage at the border? 

Listen, I gotta go.  I've been on vacation for almost a week now and, needless to say, as I put on my bathing suit for the last time, I'm going to have to call for help. It's somehow shrunk a lot in the past few days... yeah that must be it.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Sharing the Holidays with Close Friends-Who Needs It?" (Monday)

I have no friends during the holidays. And frankly, that's the way I want it. I think those going through infertility make a big mistake in believing that this is the time you really need your friends the most. You definitely need your infertility-friends the most. The rest of them: They're of no use to me.Most of my friends are too busy shopping, cooking, rushing around, or just plain being overwhelmed. They're all absorbed in their own little lives and their own little rituals and traditions. They're thinking: "Oh no, here comes Lori with her beaten down ovaries again. I just don't have time for this now!" That's fine. Because I'm thinking: "Oh no, here comes Liz with that glazed over: 'Just one more store! Just one more store! I promised myself: Just one more store!'" look in her eyes. She's a wreck. How can I lean on her right now? She looks twenty years older than when I saw her the week before Thanksgiving.

Her hair's a mess. She looks like she hasn't slept in a week. It's 9 AM and she's eating greasy french fries and a candy apple out of a Saks Fifth Avenue bag. Ew let me avoid her until sometime in February. By then she'll have cashed in her annual spa gift certificate from her thoughtful if none too imaginative husband. Then we can continue on merrily with our relationship for the next many months.  

Geez look at her. I don't even want to go near her. I hope that spa has someone trained in CPR... or at least licensed to write a prescription for anti-anxiety medication...something...I mean look at the shape of her. I really don't think a facial's going to do it this year.  

So, right, my friends don't want to be around me during the holiday season. Well, as luck would have it, I don't want to be around them either.   

I have a self-imposed restraining order. I don't come within a hundred yards of any friends. (I'd say fifty yards, but my normal speaking voice tends to carry without me really trying.) I swear if I walk into a store I frequent and the cashier says: "Hey, your friend just came in. ", I turn around and wait in my car.

Stress, exhaustion, frustration, financial strains. Wow. I never realized how much infertility and holiday shopping had in common.

So this week we'll be discussing exactly how useless our friends are to us at this time of year. All the articles this month from Health Experts will be centered around: "Get Through the Holidays... Any Way You Can"  The first article just arrived and is by psychologist and social worker Iréné Celcer. Take a look if you can.  http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

Read about Iréné on her profile: http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=1474 

Listen, I gotta go.  It's Monday during the holiday season and the only employee who showed up at work today... well, will probably be me if I can coerce myself into getting dressed.  

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Out of the Roaster and into the Frying Pan" (Friday)

I know I know I'm late posting again. I was frying potato pancakes for Chanukah and the hot oil got me in the arm and I had to be rushed to the hospital. There's nothing worse than a third degree latke burn.  (Start with "Monday" if you can. You need a break from your online holiday shopping.  Listen to what I'm saying.  Between Saturday and now, you've managed to memorize all of your credit card numbers. It's a bad sign.)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Spending the holidays with your relatives... and their friends.

So which is worse: Being around relatives who may already know about your infertility or at least suspect...or their friends who are total strangers and know nothing?

Believe it or not, people who know you well are easier to deal with I think. Like I said yesterday: Two-way street. They know you have no kids. Maybe they know there's something up. But you've got dirt on them too. Just keep answering their questions with questions. Keep the chat movin'.

"Weren't you doing those fertility shot treatment things?"

"Weren't you taking 'increase your IQ' classes"?

"Do you feel uncomfortable around pregnant women?"

"Do you feel uncomfortable around smart women?"

"Are you still going to the same doctor?"

"Are you still going to the same high school?"

But friends of your relatives...nothing. You've got nothing on them. No ammo. I mean you can always just take a shot in the dark and hope you stir up some trouble. It would definitely take the focus of the conversation off of your issues.

"Hi I'm Mary. I work with your cousin. These are my kids. Do you have kids?"

"Mary...Mary... Aren't you the one who has a divorced-with-benefits relationship with her ex?"

"Hi I'm Paula. I live next door. I'm a nuclear physicist."

"Oh wow, that's interesting. I've never met a nuclear physicist before."

"Do you have kids?" 

"Wait. My cousin mentioned you. Didn't your name used to be 'Paul'... and you had a wife named Sue?"

"Hi. I'm Jackie. And over there are Jayden, and Jaylen and Jamie and Jason... Do you have any... "

"Oh right. Jackie. The crack whore."

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  

Listen I gotta go.  It's the third night of Chanukah and my husband and I are going to play our own version of "spin the dreidel".

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

Things That Go Bump in the Night of the Infertile (Tuesday)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right... Fears. And people going through infertility treatments are loaded with them. Some of our fears are injected into us by our "well-meaning" relatives who had a friend who had a neighbor whose sister's  cousin's dry cleaner had an IVF nightmare. My answer to this relative is: "Prove it." I'm not kidding.

If you're going to open your big trap and scare the follicles out of me, I insist that you produce this person.... Come, I've got some things that could use some dry cleaning. Where does she work?

Some of our fears are hormone-induced. Take this pill, shove this suppository, stick this needle in the front cellulite, stick this needle in the back cellulite... And the next thing you know, you're saying:

"Please, please, I need your help. What if I don't get pregnant this month? What if I have to go through another cycle? What if I never ovulate? What am I going to do? I'm not going to make it through it. I just can't. What if it never happens? I just can't. I won't make it through it"...to the woman behind the deli counter. That's the last time she'll ever use the phrase: "May I help the next person?"

And then some of our fears are caused by our fatal mistake of watching the news.

Somewhere in the back recesses of our minds we all have this crazy fear: "What if they inseminate me with somebody else's sperm by mistake and I get pregnant?"

Positive side: Bragging rights. I could finally say to my husband: "See? I told you it was your fault all along!"

I actually do remember on one of my IUI go 'rounds, waiting in the insemination room all dressed-up like a paper doll, when the nurse came with a mostly- full sample cup in her hand with my husband's name written on it.

"I have to confirm this is yours." She said, showing me the cup.

Me being me, even when naked from the waist down (perhaps even more so then) I answered: "Well, yes, that's my husband's name on the label. I have no idea who you've got there in the cup, but that's definitely his name on the label."    

So we have this fear, and maybe we don't take it too seriously... and then it  comes true. Not to us. Not to anyone we know. One- in- a- million, no way it could happen, and then there it is on the news.  

There's a book out now called "Misconception" written by a couple that it actually happened to.  I haven't read the book, but the doctor who wrote the article I read about it believes that the error may have been in miscommunication or mislabeling a sperm sample, but almost definitely involved the fact that the two women had the same last name. Well, that's all I had to hear.   

Time to make a phone call.

"Hello, is this my fertility clinic? Any other patients there with the last name Shandle-Fox? Or Fox? Or Shandle?

Are there any employees named Shantell? Or Lori? Cory? Tori? Is there a doctor named Lori, Cory, or Tori? Or a doctor whose wife is named Lori, Cory, or Tori? How about a cat?

My Hebrew name is Hana. Any Hanas? Are you within delivering distance to a Benihana restaurant? I don't want any confusion if I happen to be getting inseminated when someone's ordering lunch.   

Are there any embryologists with heavy accents who might say anything  that might sound like Shandle-Fox to someone? Like 'Handle Box.' That's a phrase an embryologist might use.  Handle box. Shandle-Fox. It could happen. 

Please tell me who among the staff has the best handwriting. The woman who vacuums at night? Please, please, I implore you... Next time, let her label my husband's sperm."

And, PS. in the case I mentioned above, the woman who got pregnant with the sperm of the other's husband: She carried the baby to term and handed the baby over to them. (wow!)

Listen, I gotta go. Today's election day and I have to figure out who I'm going to vote against.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Hail to the Clueless! (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. If you're reading this in an air-conditioned room what's the rush? It's the first days of autumn and most of the U.S. is still 92 degrees.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. Infertility-related comments our loved-ones make to us: The insensitive and the insulting. The inane and the insane. I think after mulling over them the past week, I finally realized what all of those remarks and advice have in common. 

Let's review for a moment some of those silly, annoying and sometimes harmful statements that people say to us. See if you see in them what I see in them :

"I don't have a minute to myself. You have no idea how lucky you are you don't have kids!"

"My cousin's a terrible mother. Maybe you could have one of her kids. (ha ha ha)"

"You're so stressed out. You should learn to relax"

"We kind of have opposite sides of the same problem. You can't get pregnant and I can't stop getting pregnant!"   

"You're not doing those infertility shots are you?"

"There are other things in life than being a parent."

and the old stand-bys: "Go on a vacation. People always get pregnant on vacation." "Maybe you could adopt", "What's your rush? You still have plenty of time to have a baby" 

To me, every one of these statements and a million others all mean exactly the same thing. They all translate into: 

"I have no idea what to say. I barely even know what you're talking about. The whole thing kind of freaks me out. I'm feeling extremely uncomfortable right now. I wish one of us could just disappear." 

So instead of vomiting that onto your new sweater, they just pull anything at all out of their... "A" file... Every single one of those statements adds up to nothing more than Rectal Rhetoric.  They're blowing us off.

In order to deal with the comments and the commentors appropriately, I think we have to be clear on which of three categories these Glutteus Philosophers fall into.

1) People we're close to who honestly wish they understood our plight better, but are sad, confused, and frustrated. (Back to them in a sec.)

2) People we're close to who honestly can't handle our plight or for whatever reason don't want to deal with it.

This is a hard pill to swallow: Forget these people-- for now anyway. Sure it's stressful that someone you really care about doesn't seem to empathize or want to get involved in this part of your life.

But it will probably be ten times as stressful if  you spend your time begging them to get involved, expecting them to react a certain way, and telling them over and over how wrong they are.

Maybe one day you'll know their reasons. Maybe they don't even know their reasons.  Doesn't matter. You've got enough pressure on you right now. If you're not getting what you feel you need, there are plenty of fast friendships waiting to be made in support groups.

3) Proximity Partners: People who are neither close friends nor relatives but they know your business because they happen to sit next to you at work and they either heard something through the grapevine or in a weak moment you poured out your heart to them and asked for advice because they happened to be the only one in the room at the time of the outburst. 

Any and all insensitive, insulting, insane and inane remarks from these people can be dismissed with one quick directive:  "Shut up and go back to your cubicle."

Why seek comfort and advice from this person? You've never before cared where she got her lunch, her shoes, or that husband of hers.  Now that you've got something that could potentially be juicy office gossip she's decided you're soulmates? Screw her. Bye neighbor. Go mind your own monitor.

Back to those people who really care about you and your situation but don't know what to do or say.  Tell them what you need even if it's: "I really don't want any advice. I'm really upset and I just need you to hear what's going on with me." 

Besides all of the great information that's out there to hand to them (sites like  http://resolve.org ), I've always found that it helps to compare infertility to something they might already understand better. 

"Infertility isn't about choosing to have a baby instead of going back to school. Infertility is about treating an illness so you can live your life to its fullest. Like diabetes."

I spoke at the beginning of the week about trying to convince my parents for decades that having a career in the Arts was a good idea. I was going nowhere fast with it.

But my parents were pretty open-minded liberal thinkers and I knew that my father believed that homosexuality was already a part of your makeup at birth and not some bandwagon you decided to climb onto in college because it seemed cool, like dying your hair blue.

So one day I said to him: "Dad, being an artist is probably a lot like being gay." And he said: "But Lori, gay people don't choose to be gay. Oh."

I think he finally got it.

Listen I gotta go. I have a date with my husband tonight. I'd better go sit in the car in case he changes his mind and tries to sneak out.

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

Check out Clinical Social Worker, Ellen Glazer's article "Stress Causes Fertility" this week on The Health Experts page. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

Hail to the Clueless! (Monday)

I think I was luckier than most. I never tried to explain my infertility to my close friends and never expected them to understand. By the time I had conception issues, I had had a lot of practice in my life banging my head against the wall trying to explain things about me that nobody understood and was over it.

During the week, I'll elaborate  (assuming I remember my train of thought. I'd better make some notes somewhere and then hope I remember where.)

One major point of contention within the infertile community always seems to be that there are friends and family who simply just don't get it. Either they don't try to understand or they try to understand and they still say something dumb.

I'm writing about this this week because there was some discussion about it in the Washington Post which led to the inevitable comments online.

One woman with four kids was incensed at the thought that if she had an infertile best friend that her friend would not be able to put aside her own infertility issues to be truly happy for this jerk with the four kids (I didn't just call her a jerk did I? Let me reread a minute... "One woman...uh huh...truly happy...uh huh...oh, yeah apparently I did. Oh well, what can you do?) 

So all of these ladies, bless their hearts, who have dealt with infertility, many of whom have had miscarriages, tried mightily to diplomatically explain to this jerk (I did it again didn't I), comment after comment, why it was hard, sometimes nearly impossible, for us to "put aside our infertility" to be happy for each of her, count 'em, four pregnancies. But this lady wouldn't budge.        

Maybe it's because I'm a a writer, or maybe because I lived in NYC for most of my life, but I think I could write a much more succinct post to this lady:  "You're an idiot. Have a nice day!!!!" (smiley smiley, heart heart, LOL!!).

And maybe she's not an idiot or a jerk. Maybe she's just clueless. We're all clueless about something. And that's what we'll be discussing this week: Things we're clueless about and dumb things the clueless people around us say about our infertility issues.

This week's Health Expert post is from a clinical social worker who has dedicated most of her career to infertility and related fields. Ellen Sarasohn Glazer adds a twist to this particular topic in: "Stress Causes Fertility". Take a look!  http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

Listen I gotta go. I have an appointment for a root canal and I want to get a good seat.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow. Hopefully, after the root canal, that won't just be a figure of speech.

Holidays: I'm Not Convinced (Wednesday)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. This week is filled with holidays for me. From Labor day to Rosh Hashanah, (the Jewish New Year). Yesterday we were talking about how the infertile among us dread holidays and despise family functions. And my theory (my Masters thesis) is that most people, those with normally functioning reproductive systems included, also hate going to these wingdings. And this is why:

Approaching holidays fill us with expectations: Expectations to be happy, to celebrate, to be around family, to skip down memory lane, all of us together, hand in hand.

But then, when we turn over the engraved expectation list written in dainty gold calligraphy on perfumed stationery, and on the other side, scribbled in leaky pen with a mayonnaise stain on it, is our dirty little real expectation list.  

We expect that everyone will get to together. We expect that most don't want to be there. Most are there because they don't want to be the person who's talked about behind their back. 

We expect that at least one person will say something to humiliate himself and at least one person will say something to humiliate someone else.

We expect some cousin to tell you how well he's doing in his business even though everyone present, even the kids, know it's B.S.

We expect some aunt to tell you how well her kid is doing and everyone else to be thinking: "Does she really not know he's a loser?" 

We expect some to over-drink and all to over-eat.

We expect all the food will be great while we're  sitting within earshot of the person who brought it and most of the food will stink when we all talk about it on the drive home. 

And we expect at least one person in each vehicle to put in the request:

"Remind me not to do this again next year."

But those with infertility issues also expect scrutiny and being judged and being made to feel uncomfortable:

Personal questions, embarrassing questions, extremely "not-anybody's-business" questions.

And I'm here to remind you that, while all of their baby plumbing may be functioning correctly, your dear relatives have plenty they don't want to talk about either:    

So, remember:

Don't ask  your cousin Brian why he's 40 and still living with his college roommate. 

Don't ask your uncle Steve why he was on the news with his jacket over his face

Don't ask your sister-in-law Brenda why she lives in a mansion and drives a BMW to the food stamp office

Don't ask your brother-in-law Sam how he failed his driving test four times and his GED three times

Don't ask your mother-in-law why every time she makes her "special-family recipe" stuffing, there's always an empty Stovetop box in the garbage

Don't ask your second cousin Bill why he spends his days collecting disability and training for an ironman triathlon

And the ultimate goal for the family festivities: After the whole debacle is over, be that person in the car who says:

"Remind me not to do this again next year".......And then write it on your appointment calendar so you don't forget!

Listen I gotta go. If you don't get to the cake early at a Jewish family function, you could starve to death.

Holidays: I'm Not Convinced (Tuesday)

This will be a short blogging week for me. (If anyone just said "Yeah!", or "Woo-hoo!" or gave a double thumbs-up sign, I swear I'll come out there and slap you.) It's just that I find myself this week sandwiched between holidays. (As Yom Kippur, a day of fasting, approaches, you'll be hearing me use more and more edible vocabulary. I crack under the pressure this time every year.)

I frankly have some problems with holidays in general. If you read my Mother's Day posts in May, you'll know this to be true.  

And for those with fertility issues "going home" for the holidays, whatever holiday it might be... even labor day... (and why do they have to call it "labor" day anyway damn them!)  can really freak us out.

How can you not dread the family firing squad?

1) Are you still trying to have a baby?

2) You're not doing that fertility drug stuff are you?

3) Oh great you're pregnant! Or have you just gained some weight?

And the kids running around making you feel like their parents are flaunting them: Throwing them in your face.

And the whispers right before you walk into the room or just as you're leaving it.

And worse... the ones whom you know are dying to grill you like a cheese sandwich but talk about nonsense to avoid the big white elephant in the room.

They don't talk about your teeny apartment because you might think they mean: "You have no kids. You don't need more room."

They won't ask if you've gone back to school because that might imply: "You have all this free time because you don't have kids."

They don't talk about the war in Iraq because someone might mention all of the sons and daughters that people have lost.

They don't talk about yard sales because everyone associates yard sales with getting rid of baby clothes.

So they look down at their shoes, mumble a half-ass compliment about your nail polish and off they go.

Let me tell you something: Newsflash! I really do think holidays with their big family brouhahas are largely dreaded by MOST people: Infertility and non-infertility sufferers alike-- no matter how much they deny it.

And this is why: A lot of people only get together with their extended families once or twice a year: Labor day barbecue, Easter let's say.

There are a lot of skeletons that can accumulate in a closet between those two annual get-togethers.

So many in fact, some families should consider moving their big Christmas shindig to Halloween.

So what do non-fertility sufferers not want to talk about at family functions?

Tomorrow we'll rattle some of those bones and see what pops out of their closets... Who knows? It could be a cross-dressing uncle. Or perhaps a kleptomaniac cousin.

Listen I gotta go. I have to start fasting now: A week before Yom Kippur's fast...so that I'll fit into the dress I want to wear on Yom Kippur. If I wait until the Yom Kippur fast, it'll be too late. 

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Infertility News: I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up (Wednesday)

So what were we talking about? Oh right. Wacky infertility news from around the world.  Yesterday it was the 45 year old lady in Australia, in jail for Welfare fraud, who won the right to continue her IVF treatments during her incarceration. Apparently her window of opportunity to get pregnant was about six months shorter than her jail sentence.  

A case of poor planning I think. It's like that old saying: "If you do the crime, you gotta... make sure you don't get caught until after menopause."

Another hot topic on Infertility News Channel (Please someone tell me if I'm not making that up): Europeans who don't feel they can get the treatments they need in their own country, so they head over to someone else's. 

Medical professionals don't seem to care much for the term "Fertility Tourism" . I can understand that. It sounds like there's going to be some guy standing at the airport selling live sperm key chains.

And rows and rows of gift shops crammed with infertility chachkis: Mugs that say: "Kiss me I'm Infertile", T-shirts with a picture of an egg that read: "I'd Rather Be Fertilized" or bumper stickers that proclaim: "Proud Parent of an IVF Patient".

Of course I would opt for the one that read: "Back up! Only my husband and my Reproductive Endocrinolgist are allowed this close to my ass!"

(Wouldn't you love to read the lips of the person behind you squinting to sort out "Reproductive Endocrinologist" on a bumper sticker? How many collisions would that cause?)

Well, what this is all about is that some people in the UK, let's say, are considered too old to qualify for IVF there, or the prices are too steep. So they go all the way to Amsterdam. Or single women or lesbian couples are denied treatment in France and step over to Belgium. Italy's restrictions on sperm and egg donors has sent Italians packing more than any other country.

I'll be honest. In the U.S. you don't see as much of that. You probably wouldn't go over to New York City  because you couldn't get the treatment you sought in New Jersey. You might go for the pizza after treatments... 

So, as I said, much of the medical community doesn't like the term: "Fertility Tourism". Apparently they prefer  "Cross-Border Reproductive Care". Which to me sounds like you lift up your night gown every night, jut your butt out over the state line, somebody injects you and you go home to bed. But whatever.  

Listen, I gotta go. I have to call the mechanic and see if my car is ready. Apparently the only thing that didn't need to be replaced was the ashtray. It must still be under warranty.  I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

When You Don't Fit Into The Baby Club, Be Your Own Hero (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I promise that my blog week will go a lot faster than your work week.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. How to fill our time now that we won't be wasting it with the pregnant cousin, next door neighbor, and coworker.

Any activity where the chances are slim to remote that you'll run into anybody in baby-making mode will do. And there are a lot to choose from.

There's no need to beg AARP to bend their minimum age requirement rule for you. (Besides, the only thing more irritating right now than  expectant parents would be expectant grandparents.)

Here are a few suggestions:

1) Get off your birthin-to-be hips and do some exercise. And if it's with others, find some vain women: They wouldn't dare get pregnant. What are you kidding? After all the time and money (and surgery) they put into that body?

But only exercise around vain women. Part of being a vain man is proving that he can fertilize his female. 

Two weeks into your exercise routine, while he's prancing and flexing between the free weights, he'll have to report in his best deep, Ted Baxter, testosterone-infused voice that his woman is pregnant or quit the gym in disgrace. 

2) Book clubs- Conversation will mostly revolve around the book, (Gee, Lori, is that why they call it a "Book Club"?) and What To  Expect When You're Expecting is rarely on the agenda. 

3) Yoga. Everybody's trying so hard to not pass out or tumble over, there's little time for chit-chat. 

4) Learn a foreign language. Just don't learn how to say: Assisted Reproductive Technology, Reproductive Endocrinologist or In Vitro Fertilization. Not that any one of them is likely to be included in the beginners' class. 

And if you somehow get cornered by another student who's dying to mention pregnancy or children or another verboden topic, toss them one of these:  

"No quiero hablar de eso."

"Je ne veux pas en parler."

"I don't want to talk about it"...in Spanish and French.

5) Animal lovers groups: These people are repulsed at the very mention of human babies.

But of course the risk here is:  The doggy's "mom" will tell you everything: From when she stopped breast-feeding him to how they both cried at his first day at Dachsund Daycare.

And at the meeting, it's possible you'll look down and realize: "Oh, crap. Her 'son' and my ankle are apparently dating. And it must be serious. I can't imagine my ankle putting out on a first date."  

I recommend all of the above to take our minds off that subject from which our minds rarely wander these days.

But of course, some of the above can help with our weight and general health, and all of the above can help with our stress levels by keeping our minds and bodies a little lighter and freer:

Which could help with...you know... that subject we're not dicussing today.  As my Dad used to say: Anyway, "It couldn't hoit."

Listen I gotta go. I have to go to the hardware store and buy some duct tape. My windshield cracked and that's all my car insurance will cover.

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

When You Don't Fit Into The "Baby Club", Be Your Own Hero (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. It'll take you back to a simpler time (three days ago) before news of Bristol Palin's engagement had thrown your life into a tailspin.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. The "Baby Club" or more precisely: How to completely shut out the most important women in our lives for the entire duration of their pregnancies.

Of course, if my ideas yesterday of hiding, ducking, avoiding and running away from your pregnant cousin, next door neighbor, and coworker seemed too extreme for you, you can always go the childish route:

Every time they try to talk to you about anything baby-related, stick your fingers in your ears and hum. "What? MMMM Sorry, I can't hear you. MMMM"

Or play a game of "Hide" with them. It goes like this: They hide.  That's it.

You never "Go Seek" until either your infertility issue clears up or they're child is in high school.

I think the most important thing to learn about this whole "Baby Club" BS is that there are a lot of other clubs to join.

I know you desperately want to be a part of this club. You want to be a cheerleader and I'm telling you to join the stamp collectors.

I'm just suggesting that while we're all so busy running away from our pregnant cousins, next door neighbors and coworkers, shouldn't we be running towards something fun and interesting? 

And I'm not talking about  infertility-related groups.  They definitely have an important place in all of this, but would those clubs remedy this situation? And ask yourself: Are those clubs interesting? They're sure not fun.

"Oh, you didn't make cheerleader either? There are a bunch of us: That girl with the broken leg; the one who can't do a cartwheel to save her life; her sister who's hair isn't long enough to put in a ponytail; the girl with small pom poms. Yeah, we all got rejected too. Ho hum. Wanna join our club? It'll be fun, I suppose."

My husband and I decided to take a break from bemoaning the fact that I wasn't pregnant yet, by grabbing every opportunity to do things we might not be able to if we had a newborn to care for... never knowing if that time could be almost upon us. 

We ran away for cheapy little day trips. We saw lots of movies, read lots of books, (nothing even remotely reproduction-related) and went to every concert in the park no matter the music (okay, we drew the line at the New Kids on the Block cover band. I knew I had two choices here:

1) Not go at all or... 2) Listen to my husband say, thirty or forty times: "You're kidding me right? This is a joke. You're really not going to make me sit through this. Right?)    

It's totally understandable why this pregnancy is ruling the lives of our cousin, next door neighbor, and coworker, but should it be allowed to rule ours too?

Listen I gotta go. I'm riveted to the developing Bristol Palin story. I have to go turn on the TV in case there's a breaking news bulletin. I fear a tweet simply couldn't do it justice.

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

When You Don’t Fit Into The “Baby Club”, Be Your Own Hero (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Unless you're on vacation. Then get away from the computer as fast as is humanly possible.) So what were we talking about? Oh, right. Keeping yourself from being sucked into the pregnancy merriment vortex of those around you: Your pregnant cousin, coworker, next door neighbor.

Avoid these women at all costs. It's easier than explaining why you're not in any mood to be part of all of their giddy rituals and festivities.

The next door neighbor is the easiest to ditch. For me, it would be extremely easy to not talk to my neighbor for nine months. We've lived here for three years. I couldn't pick out my next door neighbor in a three-person line-up.

Like right now for instance. I just saw some teens running down the block and into the house across the street. I have no idea if they live there or are robbing it. I'll watch the news later and see if there's any mention. 

So just plan your newspaper retrieval, moving of garbage cans and picking up of mail when the neighbor is not in view.  And if you see her coming during one of these duties, just remember, you can out-run her.

One preggo down.

The cousin is also easily dismissed. All you need to do is avoid all family functions for nine months. Sounds impossible.

More impossible than spending the holidays ducking behind poinsettia or a menorah so that nobody will talk to you about how good your cousin looks or pry into what's going on in your ovaries? 

Of course if you don't attend the holiday festivities this year, those who do attend will spend all night talking about you and why you didn't attend. I'd be good with that.

You know how people always say: "If you have something to say, say it to my face."? What for?

Personally, I'd just as soon have them talk behind my back. Why waste my time with their stupidity? Like Billy Joel says: "You can speak your mind. Just not on my time." 

Of course some do-gooder like your mom or your sister who was at the bash (a bash in every sense of the word) will be hitting your number on speed dial as she's backing out of the party house driveway to give you the nitty-gritties.

And, that, my dears is what call waiting is for: To pretend you have another call so you can politely hang up on somebody. Or, even better: Caller ID. So you don't have to answer it in the first place.

Two preggos down.

The third chick on the list is the hardest to ignore: The coworker.

She sits just one thin-walled cubicle away. Not only does she spend all day searching for cute maternity crap online, she keeps calling other coworkers over to ask their opinion on it. And you have to hear all of it.

You hear her being excited about everything and the parade of coworkers being bored out of their skulls.  

Destroy something. Yeah, if something were broken in your cubicle, perhaps you could  just pick up your plant and your photos and sashay over to that one...way over there...next to the unbelievably noisy copier, on the other side of the twelve foot sound-proof wall.

Or, ear buds. Shove some nearly invisible ear phones into your ears and listen to music if you can. My mother's eighty year old cousin slips his hearing aid into his pocket whenever his sister starts talking.

Right now you're doing the infertility hokey-pokey... And "self-preservation"--That's what it's all about.

Three preggos down.

Listen, I gotta go. I'm going to put on the eleven o'clock news. I've piqued my own curiosity about that house across the street. I wonder if anybody does live there.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

When You Don't Fit Into The "Baby Club", Be Your Own Hero (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. No, you won't be lost if you don't. I don't pretend to be Tom Stoppard...I wonder if he has a blog.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. What to do when you're suffering through all of your infertility woes...

And your best friend from college, your next door neighbor, your coworker, (just one measly cubicle over) and your overachieving cousin who won the second grade art contest by drawing a perfect map of Bolivia complete with a special blue-green Crayola shade that she patented herself to replicate the rainforest, all came up pregnant last Tuesday. 

I know it's hard. It's more than hard. It's excruciating. Right now, at this very moment only, (I can't speak for tomorrow and neither can you) you're not part of that club. And whatever you do:

Don't accept a guest pass from these people!

What I mean is:  Don't let them sucker you into feeling guilty for not being thrilled for them or make you feel obligated to celebrate with them.

I was recently at a meeting at work where the guy in charge of Security spoke about how we shouldn't hold doors for anyone entering the building. I opened my big mouth and said: "A lot of us here are from NYC. We're not interested in being polite."

Not to say we're rude. We're just not worried about hurting feelings when our security might be at risk. And when we're around pregnant women, our emotional security is at risk. 

My two cents to you: Volunteer for nothing.

Don't go on cutesie girls day out baby clothes shopping sprees.

Don't offer to help pick out wallpaper for the baby's room.

And for Gd's sake: Don't make any baby showers.

Don't help decorate any baby showers. Don't attend any baby showers. Don't shop for any gifts for baby showers. If you can,  don't even use the term "baby shower".

Just call it:  "Balloons, streamers, a sheet cake, and a woman in no condition to be sitting in a wicker chair for two hours." (At the end of the two hours, three partygoers will be summoned to hoist her out of it.)  

Stick some money in an envelope and slip it to the woman who would be the next best candidate to do the wretched event and tell your next door neighbor, college roommate, cousin: "Sorry, this is a very tough time for me. I gave Anita money for the shower. It's the best I can do right now. Hope you have a great time."

End of story. Goodbye and good luck.  

Then treat yourself to a movie, a trip to the beach, a cuddle on the couch with your honey, (preferably all of the above) the day of the big gala.

If you can manage to coincidentally be doing all of the above in another county, state or time zone, even better.

And for heaven's sake. Don't check any emails or social networks. Some loser (usually my sister)(I apologize)...

So anyway, some loser (usually my sister) (Geez I did it again) will plaster the giddy photos of the shindig while the horrid shindig is still going on.

Here's a photo of Lisa, the guest of honor, eating cake. She's laughing. She's having a good time. This one is of Kate, her sister-in-law. She's laughing and eating cake. She's having a good time too. This is Kate with Lisa. They're both laughing and eating cake.

This is Lisa's husband Rick. He's laughing and drinking in this photo. A baby shower with an open bar. Classy.

Here he is laughing to excess and drinking his third drink beyond excess. He'll be a good daddy.

Oh now, these must go at the front of the baby book: Mommy being greased and pried out of a wicker chair with a spatula and daddy being rolled off the cake table and onto a stretcher by EMS workers.

Listen I gotta go. I have a feeling I'd better give my sister a head's up. Can I plead sudden turrets syndrome? Anybody know?

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

When You Don't Fit Into The Baby Club, Be Your Own Hero (Monday)

As any infertility vet can tell you: If you dabble in infertility treatments long enough, eventually you're going to run into a slew of friends and colleagues who are pregnant/recently had a baby. You can't even protect yourself against it anymore.

It used to be, if you wanted to stay away from potentially pregnant people you would just avoid young married couples.  That was then.

Now, there's nowhere to hide.

I have single friends with kids. Friends who have never had a date... with kids. Lesbian friends with kids. Friends over forty-five with... new kids. Gay male friends with kids. Friends who swore they would never have kids... with kids. Friends who swore they could never have kids... with kids.

You start saying to yourself: "I know they're all just doing it to spite me!" 

And they're probably not... Okay, they're definitely not. But, knowing that  doesn't make the going any less tough for you.  

You're counting down days to your next cycle of whatever assisted reproductive therapy you're doing at the moment, 

and they're counting down days until they give birth or celebrate their baby's first birthday, baptism, tooth, vomit, public humiliation, zit, whatever. 

I aim this week to get you to appreciate all of the "haves" in your life and to take the focus away, for at least a split sec, from your current "have-not".

And maybe we'll scratch the surface of your "just-had-a-baby" friend  and see what lurks under that new mom smell... as beautiful as the whole experience is, some of it might stink just a little.  

As for this week's title: "When You Don't Fit Into The Baby Club, Be Your Own Hero"

I had been toying with the idea of writing this week about the social isolation that comes along with infertility when I stumbled upon Connie Shapiro's blog post on that very subject: Of not fitting into "The Club"  http://connieshapiro13.blogspot.com/ and knew it was meant to be, kismet, or bashert as they say in my neck of the woods...or at least in my original neck.

Daytime talk shows, especially, love to talk about heroes and being your own hero.

It would be great, if after reading this week's posts you feel inspired like that, but if you just appreciate the sandwich pun, I'm good with that too.  

Listen, I gotta go. If I'm at the computer for too long, my husband assumes I'm checking out young male co-eds on My Space again.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

The Fertile Riff Raff (What? What Did I Say?) (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. It's good to get blogged as much as you can on a Friday, in case you have to go blogless on the weekend.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Women who get pregnant easily. Yesterday we discussed "The Irritating Irresponsibles": Women who just get pregnant for no apparent reason other than... well, for no apparent reason.

The most harmless of the annoying chicks who get pregnant easily are the imaginary ones. (Bear with me if you can.)

There are two types of imaginary pregnant women:

1) Mom's like to brag about their kids. This is tough when there may not be a lot to brag about. 

So, these Mom's work with what they've got: To everyone who will listen, they brag about their daughters' one crowning achievement: Getting pregnant easily.   

"My daughter was going to be a psychololologist, but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter (for my 34th birthday)."

"Then she was going to be an anthropololologist, but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter."

"Then she was going to build homes in South America with CoHabitation for the Homeless, yeah them...but she got pregnant and gave me  a beautiful grandson."

"Then she was about to become a general in the Air Force, but just as she was scheduled for her first flying lesson...she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter." 

"Then she was going to be crowned Miss USA....but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful (I think that one was a) grandson."

"Then  she was going to become the first lady of Monaco, but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter."

I like to think these white lies are just a mom protecting her young and trying to put a positive spin on things.

I'm sure she'd rather use the above answers when asked: "So what's your daughter been up to?" rather than: 

"Nothing much. She got thrown out of two online GED programs and three rehab facilities and has been knocked up six times."  

So, this daughter isn't 100% a figment of  mom's imagination. She does indeed have a daughter: Just not the one she's been telling you about.

2) The second imaginary pregnant woman is (oxymoron alert) really imaginary: Invented by someone who feels the uncontrollable need to top your story every time: Even if this means creating a great work of fiction.  

If you just bought a house that's twenty-seven million square feet, her imaginary niece just built one that's thirty million square feet.

If you just got a job as CEO of Microsoft, her nephew's faux step-son is your boss's boss's supervisor.

But, as luck would have it, he's in charge of the Guatemala office, so you'll probably never meet him. Unless you go to a conference in Guatemala, at which time he will have just been notified of his emergency transfer to Kuala Lumpur or maybe Cincinnati. 

So if you can't get pregnant, her first cousin can't stop getting pregnant, even though her only first cousin, you're pretty sure, is about sixty-eight.  

Her poor cousin, according to Madame La Raconteur, has tried everything not to get pregnant:

Separate bedrooms, green tea, taking a hatful of birth control pills after every meal, having a hysterectomy, gender reassignment surgery, becoming a nun... Nothing works!  

Listen I gotta go. I like to swim naked and the neighbors all signed a petiton requesting I do it before daybreak. I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

The Fertile Riff Raff (What? What Did I Say?) (Wednesday)

(Start with "Tuesday" if you can. It's a short post, I promise. Short week, short post, short woman. Apparently I'm shrinking. But nevermind about that.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. The low-life broads who have the audacity to get pregnant before us.

The Clueless 

We're smart women. Many of us eat right and exercise. Don't smoke. Take vitamins. A lot of us are educated. It's a shame none of those things apparently affect your fertility. In fact, they may work against you. Has anyone done a study on pregnancy rates among the clueless? I'll bet they're out of the stratosphere.

Part of this phenomenon, I think, can be explained. Clueless people have a lot of sex.

While we're busy at the library or a museum or the ballet, they're making nice nice. Or if they are at a library, museum or ballet, they're probably having sex in the stacks or in the parking lot with the valet during intermission.

They may know nothing about anything, but even they've figured out that "that goes there". 

Maybe fertility is their gift from Gd  instead of  a brain. Everybody's got something. Nasty people can be physically attractive (if you believe the tabloids about Naomi Campbell) and homely people can be rich. (Look at the British royal family pre-Diana). 

My "favorite" is the clueless girl who keeps getting pregnant over and over. The first child is ten months older than the second and then they start coming closer together. I don't think she has figured out how it all works. She hasn't seemed to make the connection between the beer part and the birth part.

She hasn't realized that every time she and her beau cuddle on the couch with beer and nachos, nine months later she has a baby. Do we really want her to analyze this? "Hm. I keep having these babies. It must be the nachos."

So she does away with the only innocent party in this: The nachos, instead of what she should really be getting rid of:  The couch. And the beer. And definitely, the beau. 

Then there are those who don't even know they're pregnant. She was out roller blading one day, had a twinge in her side, went to the emergency room, and had a twelve pound person yanked from her loins.

I totally understand that some women don't have regular periods to start with so they don't notice missed ones.

I also completely see how the first couple of months you may not catch on if you don't feel queasy. Or notice a little weight gain later on. (Could be baby fat or just Burger King fat?)

But somewhere down the line, you'd think you'd know if you were harboring another whole human being inside your body!  Unless of course....You're Clueless......

Listen, I gotta go. My husband and I just took pictures of ourselves at the photo booth at the mall and I have to get mine retouched. I'll talk to ya tomorrow.

Who's To Blame For The Infertile Insane? (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Preferably with a frosty beverage in one hand and a sparkler in the other.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How people, like your spouse, and society, and the medical staff, have conspired with hormones to make you go bonkers during your fertility treatments...

(Ever see the movie "Gaslight" with Ingrid Bergman? It's like that.)

And, of course, there are the bills...

Bad enough you have to go to all of those appointments and be subjected to proby things put up you and blood siphoned out of you.  Stuff injected, swallowed, inserted or shot into you.

Now, on top of all of that: The damn treatments expect to be paid for.

I thought about getting a second job, maybe babysitting. Okay, so, nowadays a babysitter makes, what?  At least, forty dollars a night. 

So, okay. Let's say I worked at my regular job every day and worked overtime every night. And then, afterwards, I babysat. Seven days a week.

I'm sure there are lots of couples headed out to have a date night at eleven on a Tuesday evening. 

So that would be at least  two hundred and eighty dollars a week just from babysitting. At that rate, I could have one round of IVF signed, sealed, and delivered in about ten years. Just from babysitting. Not bad. I could start treatments about three weeks before I turn fifty-two.

Or maybe my husband could set up a lemonade stand outside his office on his lunch break.

Why not? On a NYC corner, he could charge eight dollars a cup and nobody would blink. Nobody would buy, but nobody would blink. Well, tourists might buy. He's cute enough.

And maybe he could wear a thong speedo to bolster business. I suppose that would mean we'd have to do the treatments in the summer. We've gotten this far. No sense taking a chance on frostbiting his boys.

Or maybe we could do a 50/50 raffle. You know. You sell tickets to raise money. You keep half and the winner takes half.

Could get a little hairy if you have twins, though. Even worse with triplets, being that they're not divisible by two.  What in the world am I talking about?

Or we could borrow money from family...Wait, where'd they all just go?

Or we could max out our credit cards...if our credit limits hadn't been dropped from $35,000 to $12.95.

Or we could do a bake sale. How many chocolate chips do you need to make $200,ooo worth of cookies? I'll probably need to buy a bigger bowl.

Or we could sell stuff on e-bay. If I can find a way to market old crap as nostalgia.

Or we could barter. I have a degree in Foreign Languages. Do you know any Reproductive Endocrinologists who could use $20,000 worth of Spanish lessons? (I think I might have to throw in a Senorita.)

So, the moral for this week: If you're dealing with infertility- The diagnosis, and/or treatments, and you're worried that you're losing your mind. Don't worry. You are.  We all are. Abnormality is the norm.

Listen, I gotta go. I smell steak barbecuing somewhere within a six mile radius. I've gotta grab a bottle of A1 and hunt it down. If you could see my nose, you'd know I wasn't kidding. I'll talk with ya on Tuesday.

Who's To Blame For The Infertile Insane? (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Hey, ...If you were good enough to show up for work on the Thursday before a holiday weekend, you pretty much can create your own agenda for the day.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. How society is to blame for all ills and evils on the planet including, but not limited to, our infertility issues and subsequent loss of mind.

It's also possible that some of our nuttiness can be attributed to not only people but things as well. "Hormones" comes to mind.

I mean, you know how you don't feel quite like yourself around PMS time?

Maybe you feel a little off-balance, or spacy, or irritable or like you want to choke everyone in your path and punch them in the face until they stop yapping at you?

Well, so here we are: A group who has been diagnosed, tested, and probed to death.

Been prodded and annoyed by friends, neighbors, coworkers, relatives, and your random yenta on the street.

Gone through loss of money, friends, self-esteem and ultimately, our minds.

All we need now are 250 IU's of hormones coursing through our bloodstream at 80 MPH on a nightly basis to finish us off.

And this season's fashion trend will be a straight jacket. All of the upscale infertility patients will be wearing them (over their opening-goes-in-the-front examination gowns I suppose). 

So there I was, about four months into treatments and handling everything as well as could be expected. Translation: My straight jacket was coming apart at the seams. Then it happened. 

I had had three failed go-rounds with IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination). I switched clinics and Dr. Wiseacre at the new facility insisted I take a fourth journey into the IUI unknown.  Cutting to the chase: I was prescribed a few hormones too many.

Then there was "Steven". (I may as well take the quotation marks away because that's his name): My coworker, my friend. Yes, he was a little nit-picky at work about rules and cleanliness. But I adored him.

A Pre-IUI-hormone overdose conversation:

Steven: "Lori, you're really not supposed to eat at your desk."

Lori: "I know."

In the throes of my hormone high: 

Steven: "Lori you're really not supposed to eat at your desk."

Lori: "What's it to you? Why don't you mind your own business?! Who are you? You're nobody. You're just this pain in the ass who always has to be up everybody else's ass.

(He heads to his desk with an urgent gait. I stalk behind.)

What do you even do here anyway? Do you have a job? Do you even work here? You don't ever seem to do anything but irritate people!

So what if I eat at my desk? What's it to you? I'd better never catch you eating at your desk!"     

I waved my granola bar within millimeters of his face, having visions of beating him to death with it and stuffing his body in the trunk of his car.

The poor guy. Even in my damaged mental state, I could see he was mentally debating whether to call security or just pee himself.

Listen I gotta go. I'm going to run down to Mexico to get some fireworks for this weekend. Oh, I can get them at Wal-mart? I didn't know. I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

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